Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Winter Visitors - More Mergansers

The last installment of Winter Visitors - a photo essay on Loons, Grebes, and Geese, will have to wait until Friday. I was out for a bit today chasing rumors of Common Mergansers on the North Pond and actually managed to get shots of Hooded and Common Mergansers, and I wanted to share those while the memory of Mergansers is still fresh in your mind. Plus I'm kinda busy getting tomorrow's Theme Thursday post put together. So without further ado, here are today's finds.

I was standing on Green End Ave. cursing with frustration as this huge raft of Common Mergansers swam right out of range into the sun glare, when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head, there was this little cutie, a male Hooded Merganser. He swam by as if I wasn't there; he may not have even noticed me. He was pretty far out, but luckily still within range of my telephoto lens. I got lucky!

Farther down North Pond where the dam separates it from Easton's Pond, I came across a small flock of Hoodies, about 5 males and 4 females. Unfortunately they caught sight of me before I could get a decent sight-line on them. But fortunately, I managed to get a shot of them in the air when they took off, and this female Hoodie turned out very well indeed.

And of course, the purpose of today's outing was to get some decent shots of Common Mergansers; males preferably, since I already have a very good shot of a female. As luck would have it, rumor was right and there was a sizeable raft of them out on the North Pond. But I swear they knew I was hanging around, and kept shifting into the sun glare and kept out of range. I'd go get out of sight for a while, and through the brambles and fragmites lining the shore I'd see them shift and start heading back up toward Green End Ave., where I could get a clear shot of them. But by the time I'd get back up there, they'd shift back out of the way again. So I gave up and headed down Aquidneck Ave. to go check out the dam between North Pond and Easton's Pond. On the way down the road I kept checking through the trees and underbrush, and as luck would have it, at one point I actually found a group of males on my side of the pond. I managed to get some shots, and this one below was the best of the lot. The light wasn't the best at this point, and I had to shoot through underbrush, but I finally got at least a recognizable shot of male Common Mergansers in classic profile.

Toys tomorrow, and the rest of our Winter waterfowl on Friday. Don't touch that dial!

© 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. I love the last photo. It's painterly looking and artistic. Those are indeed handsome birds. I haven't been lucky enough to see one...yet! The male Hooded Merganser is beautiful. There is so much beauty and variation to the waterfowl. I really need to start searching them out.

  2. wow!!!! I took a walk along at my nearby park which has a river running through it I only saw canada geese, and two types of ducks - mallards of course and canvasbacks. there may have been additional variety but my attention was drawn to the anglers who were out en mass yesterday - it was a warm and beautiful day. there were lots of folks I expect playing hooky (and I should now as I was among those enjoying the springlike weather instead of working)!

  3. Nice shots. the first of the baby is my fav.